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Eating breakfast has been shown to improve young people's problem solving abilities, memory and concentration, and help them start the school day on time

Breakfast can be the most important meal of the day. But many young people regularly miss breakfast or resort to snacking on crisps and chocolate on the way to school. Breakfast clubs can provide a combination of a healthy breakfast and an opportunity for educational and social activities, perfect for learning about and promoting fair trade.


Planning a fair trade breakfast club

How many pupils and staff will eat breakfast at school? Have a meeting or do a survey to find out how much interest there is among staff, governors, parents and pupils.

Organic Fair Trade TeaFind somewhere welcoming, safe and hygienic to serve breakfast. The dinner hall may be too big for a small group. A classroom or after-school activities room may be better.

Useful resource: The Food Standards Agency 'Bad Food Live!' DVD provides teachers with a useful way of teaching basic food hygiene messages, from the importance of handwashing to cooking and chilling food properly. Teachers can get a copy of the video by calling 0845 606 0667, or email: quoting ref: FSA/0845/0903.

Food hygiene fits into the PSHE & Citizenship curriculum at key stages 2 and 3, 'developing a healthy, safer lifestyle'.

Do a business plan. Work out how much it will cost to set up and run. Decide how much to charge.

Promote your breakfast club. Have a competition to choose a name for the club. Get your young co-operative involved in designing menus. Invest in reading materials (keep with the fair trade theme) to have on the table at breakfast times or a fair trade video to watch.


Suggestions for a healthy fair-trade breakfast

Keep it simple and keep it safe in terms of food hygiene risk.

Cereal served with milk. Be aware that some fair trade muesli products contain nuts. Because some schools have food policies that exclude nuts due to the potential for allergic reactions, check with your school catering service what their policy is on nuts. Have a bowl of fair trade sugar available so that pupils can add sugar to their muesli if they desire. Fair trade portion packs of sugar are even better, since this will control the amount of sugar that children can add. Dried fruit and sliced fresh fruit, such as fair-trade bananas, are also tasty sugar alternatives.

Cashew butterHow to make a fruity fair trade breakfast:

  • Put a fruit bowl on the tables for people to help themselves
  • Offer dried fruit, such as sultanas, apricots and dates to add to cereal 
  • Prepare fresh fruit salad (good with yoghurt and honey)
  • Try bananas on toast or chopped on top of cereal

Drinks: Fair trade Fruit Passion juices (can be diluted), tap water or ethical bottled water such as One Water, fairtrade tea and coffee. 


CASE STUDY: We did it!

The young co-operative at Pentrehafod School in Swansea plans to run healthy breakfasts for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Jill Ahern (adult lead) says: “Having visited the Wales Fair Trade event last year in mid Wales, two boys from the co-op decided try something different for this year's Fairtrade Fortnight.

“We plan to serve smoothies together with Fairtrade coffees and teas for teachers and our healthy living cookery club teacher, Mrs Harding has offered to bake Welsh cakes for the event.

“We are going to show DVDs from 7.45am in the morning. We might try some organic cereal too, but still looking at this. We shall promote it during the first week of Fairtrade Fortnight and run it in the second week.”

More information

The Department for Education and Skills produces the Food in Schools Toolkit which offers practical guidance on breakfast clubs and other 'food in schools' activities. Copies are available from:

Many local authority Primary Care Trusts and Local Education Authorities run food programmes with schools and may be able to offer support. Make an enquiry through your local authority or local council website.

Healthy Schools & Fair Trade: Sustain was contracted by Young Co-operatives to assess the implications of the new school food standards for fair-trade food and drink products sold in schools. This work was supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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